Big is smashing fun if you can cope with the fact that at the heart of it is a power-relationship dynamic raising slightly awkward questions. But not in a Big way.
The King of Hell’s Palace is a play brimful of good intentions but with virtually no artistry or dramatic tension.
But more and more, there’s a sense in Hedda Tesman at the Minerva that what you are seeing is some damn fine acting in a rather ho-hum play.
Marina Litvinenko’s final address in A Very Expensive Poison, reminding us of our political cowardice and idly greedy tolerance of crooked Russian money in our capital city, will bring theatres to their feet in admiration for her and shame at our shabbiness. It needed telling.
With Parliament in uproar upriver, the NT hit a luckily apt moment to stage Simon Woods’ first play Hansard and promote it as a “witty and devastating portrait of the governing class”. Just the night to hurl some fine invective at an audience fancying a torture-a-Tory session.
John Osborne’s disgusted play The Entertainer about a washed-up, alcoholic comedian whose son is at war dates from 1957 – Suez and Macmillan – but Sean O’Connor has hauled it forwards to the 1980s
The double bill of Gillian Whitehead’s Hotspur with Schoenberg’s great Modernist Pierrot Lunaire is the first outing for innovative opera company formidAbility, which seeks to bring disabled and non-disabled professional artists together on (and off) the opera stage.
From this quiet earth in the 1930s rose gold and jewels, a sword and helmet, intricate brooches and pins, platters and drinking-horns. This is Sutton Hoo, which was called “England’s Little Egypt”.
The trafficking of human beings – 7,000 identified in the UK in 2018 – is a disgusting blight on our country. The fledgling playwright Eugene O’Hare is among many earnest contemporary writers (working in theatre, film and stage) seeking to shine a light on the problem.
Nicholas Wright’s sharp play imagines the US touring production of the first black Othello and its aftermath in the uneasy years of the McCarthyite search for Communist sympathisers.
Arthur Schnitzler was, like Chekhov, a doctor; he was an Austrian Jew at a time when mistrust was rising. The Doctor belongs passionately to that time: but director Robert Icke’s very free adaptation belongs – urgently and exhilaratingly – to our own.
It is always a pleasure to see a professional debut which not only shines in itself but reminds us that belonging to a 21st-century, loose-limbed-liberal post-Christian generation doesn’t stop a new actor from empathising and utterly containing a character from another age.
Deep under the trees, beyond Jimmy’s meerkat and camel enclosures lies a 1960’s beach: shelter, deckchairs and lounging teens, Mods and Rockers, Montague and Capulet.
The Ring Cycle is opera’s biggest box set: a sixteen-hour binge of dwarves, nymphs, dragons, gods, heroes and monsters, all suspended inside one of the greatest philosophical conundrums expressed by the human mind – and set to glorious, extraordinary music.
Gail Louw’s play Shackleton’s Carpenter and Malcolm Rennie’s tremendous, unforgettable performance, were directed by Tony Milner of the New Vic before his death. This production – which tours single nights through autumn and winter, is in his memory. If you catch it, you won’t forget it.
Violetta is a reduction of Verdi’s La traviata, using only three characters: the doomed courtesan Violetta, her idealistic yet immature lover Alfredo, and – surprise! Alfredo’s mother.
If the overall effect of Oklahoma! at Chichester Festival Theatre is more of a puzzle-play than a lollipop romp, so much the better.
Clive Owen and Lia Williams do justice to the wild lush text of The Night Of The Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre, rich in wonder and filth, corruption and beauty.
We love a starry debut, especially on opening night in a huge theatre: a 21-year-old not yet through drama school making a stonking, belting first professional appearance in a title role. So Laurence Connor knew what he was doing when he cast young Jac Yarrow in Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
David Hare has made as much sense of Ibsen’s sprawling masterpiece Peer Gynt as seems possible.